Travel Tips Around The World

Nov 9 2016

"Hospitality Couture" At The New Watergate Hotel

Category: Hotelslrodini @ 02:34

A few of Bryant's fanciful designs

A few of Bryant's fanciful designs

High fashion is itself a lucrative business, and, for a long time, couture houses sought their share of the tourism dollar by setting up boutiques in luxury hotels. But hotel guests aren't the only people the fashion houses have been outfitting; recently, top designers have focused their attention on hospitality stafffrom Narcisco Rodriguez, who designed the uniforms at the Park Hyatt in NYC, to the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, whose staff sport ties emblazoned with Donatella's lion motifs and other Versace logos. Even celebrity designer Victoria Beckham has gotten into the game, designing staff apparel for the Fashion Hotel on Isla Moda (which is owned by her friend, Karl Lagerfeld).

Actually, some hotel employees might now be more glamorously dressed than their guests!

Take the new Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, which underwent a $200 million renovation and reopened in June of 2016. Interior designers spared no expense highlighting the best aspects of the 1960s Mod era into its 336 guestrooms and suites.

That aesthetic translated into staff uniforms, as well.

Janie Bryant, the costumer behind TV’s Mad Men, was asked to create a line of retro-inspired hotel fashions. She envisioned thoughtfully designed pieces for restaurant staff, concierges, bellmen, valets, and reception attendants which provide a visual counterpoint to the hotel's lush interiors. (Plus, they can withstand some elbow grease.) These pieces do wonders at breathing new life into the venerable property and instilling a sense of refined whimsy.

After all, The Watergate Hotel is synonymous with Washington's biggest power players, so it's only fitting that its employees look their best! 

Bryant's collection features a palette of camel, black, white and grey, with splashes of lipstick red. Front desk attendants are outfitted in A-line shaped dresses in the Watergate's signature check pattern, set with a puff sleeve and slight mandarin collar (pictured above). This look immediately sets the tone that hotel guests have arrived at a place that's out of the ordinary.

For more otherworldly delights, The Next Whisky Bar, located around the corner from the reception areajust follow the golden-tinged trail of house-made whiskey bottlesfeatures a set of cocktail-shaking bartenders arrayed in four-button, windowpane-patterned suits (pictured in the image at top, second from the left).

Valets will surely be the talk of the Beltway sporting black topcoats, pants with gold camel piping and—even—stylish Hamburg hats! What taxi wouldn't stop at such a regal sight (pictured left)?   

Each uniform boasts outstanding craftsmanship, with details such as silver buttons made from the Watergate logo, and are stitched in durable fabrics which allow employees the freedom to do their work without worrying about pulling fabric or getting dirty.

Fans of these fashion plates can carry the looks with them—literally. Each design is emblazoned on a complimentary Watergate Hotel Umbrella that can be used during a guest stay or can be brought home as a keepsake for $35.

We think the day of Haute Couture fashion shows devoted exclusively to hotel uniforms is coming soon. (And just imagine how outrageous the designs would be!) But until then, at least we can visit hotels like The Watergate and see a virtual catwalk of beautiful design in front of our eyes.


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Aug 2 2016

travel42 Best Of: Top 10 Hawaii hotels

Category: Best Of | HotelsMegan Leader @ 04:49

The heat of summer is in full effect, but it's already time to start planning winter getaways. One of our top hotel correspondents spent spring in Hawaii reviewing the islands' finest hotels. These 10 stellar properties top the list for searches among our travel agent subscribers, and we can see why.

1. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Lahaina. This property has amenities galore. Widlife tours, lei-making More...

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Jun 20 2016

Exploring the Animal Orphanage at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club

Category: Destinations | Hotels | On The SceneMegan Leader @ 07:24

When I checked into the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, I knew I was someplace special. This gorgeous, sweeping resort is a haven perched on the equator, abutting Mount Kenya National Park. Its lush grounds and range of amenities create a welcome respite after a long journey to eastern Africa, but the resort boasts something truly unique: an on-site animal orphanage staffed by enthusiastic volunteers.

The animal orphanage is a retreat-within-a-retreat, housing dozens of different animals—many indigenous to Kenya, as well as a few species that were given to the country of Kenya and its high-ranking officials as gifts. So in addition to monkeys, bongos, ostriches and cheetahs, you'll also see a More...

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Mar 9 2016

Historical and affordable: The paradores of Spain

Category: Favorites | General | HotelsChristine Norris @ 06:53

Spain boasts a large number of paradores: state-run hotels that are more often than not housed in buildings of historical and architectural significance. Before the word "state-run" has you heading for the comfort of the name brands, take a closer look at some of our favorite paradores—you'll find incredible locations, superb dining (with ample options for vegetarian and gluten-free travelers, not to mention the breakfast spread replete with chilled cava) and something just a little more authentic than a stay at the reliable but typical name brand offerings. While some paradores do have steep prices that are on par with bigger hotels, many are incredibly affordable.


                  The Parador de Ronda clings to its cliffside perch. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

To say the Parador de Ronda's setting is breathtaking doesn't quite capture how it really does take one's breath away: Dining alfresco means being right on the edge, looking down onto the gorge from 400 feet up; and most rooms have small balconies, which provide fantastic views, whether looking at the city or over the cliffside. Service and room standards here are especially good for a parador, and the restaurant serves hearty, authentic Spanish fare, but it's the location that makes this place a must-stay. This property is definitely going straight to the top of our "Dreamiest Hotels" list.


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Mar 1 2016

A photo tour of the Riviera Maya

Category: Destinations | Hotels | SightseeingKaren @ 06:17

Welcome to March. In the northern hemisphere, we're in the final stretch of winter; there are three weeks to go until the official start of spring, and for many residents of the colder climes--myself included--warm weather can't arrive soon enough.

Last fall, I went on a whirlwind three-day tour of the central part of Quintana Roo, Mexico. More...

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Jan 29 2016

The Most Luxurious Hotels in Spain's Balearic Islands

Category: Best Of | Destinations | HotelsChristine Norris @ 07:37

The Balearic Islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, along with one of the wildest party scenes for the rich, famous and beautiful. Given its reputation as a deluxe getaway, it's no surprise that hotels on the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are sumptuous, often with lengthy lists of spa treatments, award-winning restaurants and up-to-the-minute designs in the rooms. While any accomodations on these islands are sure to please, these are a few of our favorite resorts to tempt your imagination on this wintry day.

Cap Rocat, on the island of Mallorca, stuns guests right away with its fortress facade; but it really packs a punch with its adults-only policy, proximity to the beach (a quick five-minute walk) and truly remarkable private infinity pools that come with each of the Sentinel suites—all of this capped with gorgeous mountain views. The hotel is light on spa treatments, and dining is good, Mediterranean food, but not particularly notable—still, this place offers every possible comfort for those seeking sun and relaxation in a historic yet modern setting. The charm of the grounds and the many options for alfresco dining make this a great place to soak up some sun.


                A private plunge pool and terrace at the Cap Rocat; photo courtesy of the resort.


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Jan 22 2016

The 10 best places to see the Northern Lights

Category: Best Of | Destinations | HotelsMegan Leader @ 06:51

Watching the Northern Lights is certainly a bucket-list-worthy experience. Who wouldn't want to see the sky glow, shift and dance, reflecting hues of green and purple onto the snow below?

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite places to travel for the Northern Lights. Pair these destinations with a great hotel, and you've got a getaway unlike any other. 

1. Alaska. For U.S. and Canadian citizens hoping to stay close to home, Alaska is a great place to travel for a Northern Lights adventure. If you're choosing a hotel, Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge is a basic but comfortable lakeside base in one of Alaska's best cities to see the aurora borealis.More...

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Jan 8 2016

Alfajiri Villas Preview: Paradise on Kenya's wild coast

Category: Favorites | Hotels | On The SceneMegan Leader @ 11:14

On a recent trip to Kenya, I stayed in paradise: A private villa with an infinity pool on a white-sand beach. Included in my stay were upscale home-cooked meals, stellar service, wine and massages. I was in plumeria-laden heaven. 

I have been lucky to explore many exceptional hotels, but sometimes I come across properties with something really special. Alfajiri Villas has that special something, and I think it can be attributed to the exquisite taste, standards and attention to detail shown by its owners and managers, Fabrizio and Marica Molinaro.

Located in the beach town of Diani, Kenya, down an unmarked driveway, Alfajiri Villas is popular with in-the-know travelers and celebrities (Rowan Atkinson was one of its first guests). This place is an absolute gem. When I spoke with Fabrizio during my stay, he said that his philosophy is that the villas should feel like home.

Fabrizio coordinates More...

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Oct 6 2015

Free nights from Starwood

Category: Hotelstravel42 editorial team @ 05:29

travel42 and STAR Service Online have partnered with Starwood Hotels & Resorts to give our subscribers easy access to SPG Pro, a program that allows travel agents, meeting planners and corporate travel planners to earn personal benefits for professionally planned travel.

One of SPG Pro's current perks: When you book five nights at a Sheraton for a client, you get a free weekend night for yourself—with no blackout dates. The nights don't need to be consecutive or for the same booking or traveler, which makes it easy to jump in on this offer and enjoy your own holiday getaway.

Curious about how the program works? Here's what you need to know about travel42, STAR and SPG Pro: More...

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Sep 15 2015

travel42 Best Of: Top 10 mountain lodges

Category: Best Of | Hotels | ListsMegan Leader @ 06:49

By this point in the year, we're all getting ready to say our goodbyes to summer and embrace the fall (and holiday?!) travel season. That means warm hearths, cozy beds, world-class comfort food, and bright foliage giving way to snow-capped peaks.

To celebrate the season and make the most of the chilly weather around the corner, we've rounded up our favorite hotels around the world that capitalize on their gorgeous mountain settings. Grab your camera and bundle up: Let's go exploring!

1. Four Seasons Resort Vail, Vail, Colorado. This Four Seasons is one of a growing number of FS properties with a low room count and large pool of amenities anchored to a More...

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